Bullet Points: 10 to Midnight
It feels like forever since I’ve covered one of the many films of Charles Bronson for the site. It has actually only been 19 days, but I admit, I have a problem. But if loving Charles Bronson movies is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
This go around I’m going to review the movie, 10 to Midnight, which not coincidentally was released 32 years ago today. Sometimes we pull stuff completely at random to review, other times there’s a method to our madness.
- The Premise: Charles Bronson plays an L.A. cop by the name of Leo Kessler. When one of his daughter’s friends is murdered by a troubled young man named Warren Stacy, Kessler makes it his mission to take down the pervert by any means necessary. Business really picks up when the murderous Stacy (Gene Davis) goes after Kessler’s daughter, Laurie (Lisa Eilbacher).
- Partner In Fighting Crime: Andrew Stevens plays Leo Kessler’s partner Paul McAnn. Kessler isn’t thrilled with the partner he has been given at first, but McAnn eventually grows on Leo and his daughter Laurie. McAnn is not a fan of some of the rules that Kessler is willing to bend in order to bring Stacy to justice. 10 to Midnight would mark Stevens second collaboration with Charles Bronson, the first being Death Hunt. I have a name for people who had the privilege of working with Mr. Bronson… Lucky.
- A Villain Like No Other: Gene Davis does an excellent job as the sexually twisted and disturbed Warren Stacy in 10 to Midnight. He is definitely a character that leaves a lasting impression on the audience, if for no other reason than he spends so much of his time in the nude. Not wanting to get blood evidence on his clothes, Stacy strips before he stabs. I can’t recall seeing a serial killer use that technique in any other movie. Warren’s unique and naked style adds fuel to the fire when Leo “finds” blood on Warren’s clothes.
- Better Call Dante: Geoffrey Lewis lends his talents to 10 to Midnight playing Warren Stacy’s slime ball attorney, Dave Dante. After seeing Lewis play the good guy sidekick so many times in movies like Double Impact and Only the Strong, it was nice to see him get a chance to play a character on the other side. Dave Dante is all about winning cases, no matter the actual guilt or innocence of his clients. Dante is also the type of lawyer who is not afraid to play the insanity card if need be. So like Leo Kessler, he’s out to win by any means necessary.
Charles Bronson is at his Charles Bronson best in 10 to Midnight. He’s a cop, he’s a vigilante, he’s a vigilante cop! And Cannon surrounded him with a great cast, possibly the best he ever worked with in his Cannon years. I already mentioned the great job Gene Davis, Andrew Stevens and Geoffrey Lewis did, but let’s not take away from the work of Lisa Eilbacher.
Laurie Kessler is tough, she’s smart and she is not afraid to go toe to toe with dear old dad. She seems exactly like the type of daughter Charles Bronson would have. I haven’t even mentioned, Wilford Brimley and Robert F. Lyons, two more familiar faces to action movie fans.
In case I have not made it clear yet, I am a big fan of this movie. I think it is one of Bronson’s better films of the 1980’s and one I highly recommend. Before I wrap it up, as I so often do, I have a few more Bullet Points to share…
- Rhetorical Question: When Leo Kessler questions Warren Stacy what the sex toy he found in Stacy’s apartment was for, you know Kessler didn’t really expect Stacy to answer. Instead you get to hear Charles Bronson say “It’s for jacking off isn’t it?”
- Worst Pick Up Line Ever?: Among Warren Stacy’s habits is calling women and talking dirty to them on the phone, but he does so with a Spanish accent. Exotic! He also uses this line… “Call me Pedro. That means Peter. I got the biggest one you’ve ever seen.”
- What’s In A Name?: The script for the movie was originally titled, Bloody Sunday. But Cannon decided to go with the 10 to Midnight name. This was one of the many instances where Cannon sold a movie to international distributors, with nothing more than a poster. Apparently their original vision for 10 to Midnight was Bronson fighting terrorists in an international thriller.